SWEARY telly chef Gordon Ramsay once racked up 302 expletives in just one hour-long episode of his many cooking shows over the past two decades.
Yet the fiery Scot says his fans love him for it — with many begging him to give them a mouthful in the street.
Gordon Ramsay’s new TV show Next Level Chef is full of plenty of bad languageCredit: ITV
Gordon with Nyesha Arrington and Paul AinsworthCredit: ITV
Gordon said: ‘Sometimes people panic, so they grab a handful of chillies and there is no way I am eating that s**t. Everytime I spat it out’Credit: ITV
There will be plenty of bad language in his new show Next Level Chef and launching the show the 56-year-old tells me with a laugh: “They say, ‘Can you tell me to f**k off?’
“I don’t know why. I get it at traffic lights, ‘Oi Gordon, tell us to f**k off you k***head’ — from a van driver to a lawyer to a NHS nurse.
“If I am stood there with Oscar (his three-year-old son), it is a bit weird.”
The ITV and ITVX series, a brainchild of Gordon’s, is already a hit in the US.
Contestants are charged with cooking inside an incredible 50ft-high set with three kitchens, with Gordon and his co-star chefs Nyesha Arrington and Paul Ainsworth acting as mentors.
The kitchens go from the lowest level with broken pots and pans to the top, which boasts state of the art culinary equipment.
The wannabe chefs will have to prove they have what it takes to cook at any level to avoid elimination.
The winner not only lands a £100,000 prize but will be mentored for a year by Gordon, Nyesha — who also stars in the US version of Next Level Chef — and Paul who is a former protege of Gordon’s.
And while Gordon says the competition was stiff on the British version of the show, it wasn’t all plain sailing.
Gordon, explains: “I had the runs for the first two days from turkey.
“There is a reason we only eat that bird once a year.
“It was f**king pink and also breaded in breadcrumbs so I didn’t really know. Emotion in every plate.
“I didn’t know until I was half way through. It was horrific.”
Grimacing, Californian-born chef Nyesha, 41, adds: “The mackerel with the cream sauce was disgusting. I thought about that the whole weekend and it made me want to throw up.”
As well as expletives, Gordon has a novel way of telling contestants what he thinks of their food — by spitting it out.
But Gordon says he has a good reason.
He adds: “Sometimes people panic seasoning so they grab a handful of chillies — it could be a scotch bonnet — and there is no way I am eating that s**t.
“Every time I spat it out was because there was no way on Earth I was going to swallow that.
“You saw some s**t going in the direction of our palates and we have to protect them in a big way. We have our palates and without them we are fed.”
What do the contestants think of his antics?
“I let them taste it,” says Gordon.
“Sometimes they think this is drama for TV. But if something is inedible, it’s salty as hell, and they think, ‘Oh the judges are just hamming this up for the camera’, I think, ‘Come here and have a taste’.
I had the runs for the first two days from turkey. There is a reason we only eat that bird
once a year. It was f**king pink.
“Nine times out of then they refuse to eat it which is never a good sign or spit it out.”
As well as competitive cooking, Gordon says Next Level Chef is packed with emotional stories.
And across the eight-episode series, which begins on Wednesday, Gordon says viewers will be touched by what they see.
He explains: “Food is emotional. It is extraordinary.
“We have a home chef from up north who cooks on a tight budget of £5 a week. And that £5 a week has to go across five meals for her and her family.
“And when that doesn’t go right, it all comes out and it means so much to her. Because it means so much to her and she feels like she has let someone down.
“When you see the plethora of ingredients coming down, it is so nice to see them being so upset when things go so wrong because they are excited about taking something to the next level and they can’t because something has destroyed it. It is packed with emotions.
“A Paralympian who had to have their leg amputated because of a horrific crash — his parents had to make that decision for him — found his place, food was his calling, food was his release, the emotion he puts into every plate is extraordinary.”
Paul adds: “It obviously takes him the longest to get to the platform, he said at the beginning, ‘I don’t want a head start, I want to be treated the same,’ and he is phenomenal.”
Gordon doesn’t go easy on the team he mentors either.
He says of meeting them, “That was packed with a lot of curse words from then.
“I’m not trying to make amends, it is an industry language, no different to politics over the last couple of months. There were a lot of f**ks coming out of there.
“It is an industry language, I don’t focus on the camera, I focus on the moment to make sure it is right.
“Sometimes the occasional f**k comes out and they can go toe to toe with me.”
‘Sometimes people panic, so they grab a handful of chillies – it could be a scotch bonnet – and there is no way I am eating that s**t. Everytime I spat it out.
While some may think his methods are extreme, Paul says it worked for him.
He started working for Gordon at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in 2000 and now runs a number of successful restaurants, including his own one-Michelin star restaurant, No6 in Padstow, Cornwall.
Paul, 44, says: “I was 19 when I stepped into Gordon’s kitchen.
“At my first service Gordon threw me off service, I had to go downstairs and clean the fridge.
“It is a hardcore way of learning but there is no malice. It is hard way to learn but it is an amazing way to learn.”
Out of the three judges, Gordon jokes, there would be no question who could come out on top.
He says with a smile: “I am so competitive you have no idea.
“Paul thinks I have thrown the towel in and retired. Nyesha has spent many months in the US with me, she knows
“And let’s be honest, if we had to do a 40-minute challenge, I’d come first, Nyesha would be joint first and Paul would be third.”
Since he started his career in the Eighties, working for chef Marco Pierre White at Harvey’s in London, Gordon has gone on to become one of the UK’s biggest cooking talents.
He has 65 restaurants globally and currently holds seven Michelin stars, having had 17 over his career plus a slew of hit television shows including Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares.
And while Gordon admits he can occasionally be swayed by fast food in Los Angeles, where he owns a home, he has never once eaten at Nando’s despite his family begging him to.
Gordon, who has Megan, 24, twins Jack and Holly, 23, Tilly, 21, as well as Oscar, with wife Tana, says: “Tilly is desperate for a Nando’s black card and it is her birthday coming up.
“As soon as she gets her black card she is taking me to Nando’s.
They say, ‘Can you tell me to f**k off?’ I don’t know why. I get it at traffic lights, ‘Oi Gordon, tell us to f**k off you k***head’, from a van driver to a lawyer to a NHS nurse.
“I do a drive-thru in LA though. In-N-Out Burger is so good. I have an animal style double-double.”
Next Level Chef, Gordon believes, will be just as popular here as it is in the US.
And with that in mind, he says he is already cooking up his next show idea.
Gordon adds: “I would love to see a US versus UK.
“With the US show we had them over here for six weeks filming back in September and it is interesting to see how hungry they were to make their food better than if they were on home soil.
“I think it raised their game.
“We introduced next level baking too, so we have a baking challenge.
“Traditionally as you know that is chemistry so grabbing ingredients off a platform and trying to bake in 60 minutes was bloody hard.
“Only because the standard was good we said let’s keep it as a potential. But halfway through the competition in the UK they got really good so we threw that baking challenge in.”
Aside from cooking, Gordon admits he would love to follow in Tilly’s footsteps on Strictly Come Dancing.
Tilly was the ninth star to leave the BBC dancing competition in 2021 and Gordon admits he is asked “every day” to take part.
So will 2023 finally be the year we see him on the show?
Gordon says: “I am time poor.
“But I have always wanted to learn how to dance.
“Being on set last year with Tils and seeing how prolific that show is, it is extraordinary. I would love to dance.”
- Next Level Chef starts on Wednesday, 9pm, ITV and ITVX.
A VOICE booms towards me as I sweat over a burning hob.
“This is Next Level Chef, Not Ready Steady T**t, Ellie,” bellows Gordon.
The Sun’s Ellie Henman with GordonCredit: ITV
I take a swig of the Sloe Gin I took from the ingredients platform.
I had no intention of cooking with it but realised I may need some Dutch courage before serving up my wares to Gordon and the other judges.
The Next Level Chef set is incredible with three enormous, imposing kitchens built over three floors inside a gigantic studio in West London.
As I take my place in the worst kitchen, think cracked pans and broken utensils, my heart is pounding.
I sprint, like the contestants on the show do, to a platform which runs between the three kitchens – with the top getting the best of the ingredients and the bottom picking whatever is left.
I grab a whole lobster – ridiculous, as I have never eaten one, let alone cooked one – before I snatch a packet of noodles and some veg.
Oh, and don’t forget the gin. I decide to whip up lobster with spicy noodles, a dish in my head a posh person would order from their local Chinese.
Gordon, possibly feeling a tad mean for calling me a t**t, comes to my aid with the lobster and helps me prepare it.
Left to my own devices I shove in an entire chilli, stick the noodles on to boil then add the handy sachet of flavouring it came with.
“That smells amazing,” Paul Ainsworth tells me as he pops by.
“It’s the packet mix,” I reply cheerily, as his facial expression then changes to one of horror.
“You’re not supposed to use the packet mix,” he exclaims.
The upset continued into the tasting where Gordon, after trying a tiny mouthful of my dish, abruptly spat it out and shouted: “F**k me!”
Luckily Nyesha didn’t seem to think it was that horrendous and she tells me with a smile, “I don’t mind the spice”.
Sadly, reader, it wasn’t enough to sway opinion and I was placed firmly last.
I’ll never look at a lobster in the same way again.
Gordon, pictured with Ellie, said: ‘This is Next Level Chef, Not Ready Steady T**t, Ellie’Credit: ITV
Next Level Chef starts Wednesday Jan 11 at 9pm on ITV and ITVXCredit: ITV